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October 20, 2017

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes – Carpentry

Frank Lloyd Wright homes offer unique architectural designs. It is widely accepted that this architect was a genius and far ahead of his time. In this article we are going to focus on Wright’s design of the interiors of a few homes that feature woodworking, finish carpentry, and wooden furniture.

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes - Dana Thomas House interior The  Dana Thomas House is located in Springfield, Illinois. This house is the best preserved and most complete of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes which are known as the early Prairie houses. The structure for this property has changed little since its construction in 1902-04 for the Springfield socialite and women’s activist Susan Lawrence Dana.

For a woodworker it must have been a joy to work on Frank Lloyd Wright homes. In this photo, the wood trim is an important element in the overall design of the room. Most likely, woodworkers at the planing mill prepared various wood members such as the ceiling hoops and side braces. These craftsmen would also prepare the arched wooden beams that are on each side of the room. The casement windows would be made at the planing mill as well the wooden fixtures in front of semi-circular window at the end of the room. When delivered to the jobsite, the finish carpenters would then secure them in place.

Master carpenters on the job site would receive the woodwork prepared by the planing mill.  Then it was up to these finish carpenters to cut,  fit , and assemble the trim members into their required positions.

The furniture in the Frank Lloyd Wright homes were designed by the architect. Here, we can see evidence of Wight’s influence on the arts and crafts movement.

 

 

Interior, Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, Chicago - Frank Lloyd Wright HomesThe Robie House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908 and was completed in 1910. It is considered one of the most important buildings in American architecture and is a masterpiece. It is an example of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes designed in the Prairie style. The Robie House is located on the campus of the University of Chicago.


The domed ceiling in this room of the Robie  House features architectural members of semi-circular wood trim installed by finish carpenters. These woodworkers also fit the curved wood casing into the ceiling for the room’s overhead light source. Cabinetmakers also had a hand with Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Notice the cabinets on each side of the fireplace that have a wood shelf that unites them to form a mantle. Visually, it appears that the combination of the cabinets and shelf are supporting the center arch design at the end wall.

Rosenbaum House interior 3...Florence Alabama - Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Rosenbaum House interior 2...Florence Alabama - Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

The Rosenbaum House was built in 1939 for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum of Florence, Alabama. The architectural style of this home is known as Usonian. These Frank Lloyd Wright homes were offered as low cost homes to middle income families. Additions to the Usonian homes could simply be added on as the family grew.

As we observe the genius of Wright’s designs, it is also important to look at the skill level and craftsmanship of the workers who carried out the architect’s plan. When considering the time period that these homes were built, what woodworking tools do you think were available to the carpenter, cabinetmaker, or furniture maker?

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